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Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Pressure point: Packers

By Kevin Seifert

NFC pressure points: West | North | South | East
AFC pressure points: West | North | South | East

Examining who faces the most challenging season for the Green Bay Packers and why.

Today is May 16. That leaves about 2 1/2 months before training camp and almost four months before the start of the regular season for reinforcements to arrive. But for the time being, there is only one player on the Packers' roster who seems suited to be a No. 1 back in the NFL.

It's difficult to know for sure, but from the outside it appears the Packers are clearing the road for James Starks to take over that role in his third NFL season. Veteran starter Ryan Grant has not been re-signed and the Packers did not draft a running back last month. Behind Starks are veteran fullback/short-yardage specialist John Kuhn and two second-year players in Alex Green and Brandon Saine; Green is recovering from a torn ACL in his knee.

Grant could always re-sign at a later date, but if not, the Packers are taking a bit of a leap in hoping that Starks can stay on the field for a full season. He missed the first 13 games of 2010 because of a hamstring injury and was limited during the second half of 2011 because of knee and ankle ailments. Overall, he's missed as many games (16) as he's played. The pressure is on Starks to demonstrate he is not a part-time back.